Commissioning Specialist Homelessness Services for Outcomes
Governments across Australia and overseas are increasingly adopting commissioning for outcomes models. These approaches place client outcomes at the centre of the contracting model.
Over the period 2018 to 2023, FACS will be implementing a commissioning approach to contracting specialist homelessness services (SHS).
Commissioning SHS for outcomes in NSW will see a greater focus on making positive changes in people’s lives.
Effective outcomes measurement is central to improving practice and overcoming barriers that may prevent people from achieving better outcomes.
- shifting the focus from the services a provider offers to the outcomes they achieve for their clients by having agreed outcome measures and data to track these
- using data to inform continuous improvement to meet client needs.
This will put clients at the centre of the contracting approach.
The transition to commissioning for outcomes will be underpinned by these principles:
- collaborative, transparent design and implementation
- clarity on the role of homelessness services
- ongoing capability development for homelessness services
- contracts that include clearly defined, measurable and attributable outcomes
- performance management that is outcomes-focused and data driven.
What has happened so far?
- The NSW Government first announced its intention to progressively commission homelessness services for the attainment of outcomes in November 2015.
- Between 28 May and 28 June 2018, FACS held 13 consultation workshops across NSW attended by over 200 industry and partner agency representatives to identify appropriate client outcomes measures. A summary of the consultation findings can be found in the Industry Consultations on Client Outcomes Indicators for SHS Contracts report.
Outcomes based commissioning pilot
- Industry consultations identified three outcome measures and indicators for piloting:
- SHS clients feel safer
- SHS clients make progress addressing their safety needs
- SHS clients make progress addressing their housing needs
- SHS clients sustain their tenancy
- SHS clients have improved personal wellbeing
- SHS clients have improved capacity to tackle future challenges
- Consultations also identified two data collection tools to measure the outcome measures with clients, the Personal Wellbeing Index (PWI) and the FACS developed Client Outcomes Survey (COS)
- The identified outcomes measures will be piloted with 17 Specialist Homelessness Services organisations from January – June 2019. Participant organisations have been selected to ensure a diverse mix of client groups from both regional and metropolitan locations.
- FACS will provide more information about the outcome of the pilot when it concludes.
On 24 January FACS held a training session with 44 service provider, peak body and FACS district staff representatives. The training session looked at the practical application of the data collection tools with clients as well as the new features built into the Client Information System (CIMS) to capture the data collected.
Participating providers gave very positive feedback on the training and the system features.
From late February to March FACS will commence site visits to support service providers in implementing the outcome collection processes.